Mom of 3 gets separated from breastfeeding baby by ICE

mom with crying baby
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On the morning of August 7 in Morton, Mississippi, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the Koch Foods plant just as the night shift was being replaced by the day shift. Hundreds of workers were rounded up for being suspected of not having the proper authorization to live or work in the country. One of the workers who was taken into custody is a mother of three children whose youngest child is a 4-month-old breastfeeding infant.

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This particular raid was just one of six raids that happened simultaneously at different food processing plants in Mississippi. About 680 people were arrested in the raids. According to reports, immigration officials released around 300 people on "humanitarian grounds" and provided them with future court dates. Some of those people included pregnant women and parents with kids who don't have another parent or guardian to take care of them.

Sadly, the breastfeeding mom is still in custody, and her three kids are being cared for by their father, who is working to support the family and also facing deportation proceedings. This family's situation is heartbreaking, to say the least.

The 4-month-old baby's mom isn't even in Mississippi anymore.

The mother, who isn't being identified by name, is at an ICE detention facility in Jena, Louisiana. Dalila Reynoso, an advocate for Justice for Our Neighbors, visited and said the mother looked "distraught" and had a "lost look" about her, according to the Clarion Ledger.

"Why do we have a mother in a detention center with a baby that's 4 months old and who is breastfeeding?" asked Reynoso. Reynoso and an attorney are working on the mother's case and hope that, considering that the mother has no criminal history plus an infant who is still nursing, immigration officials will let her out on bond.

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In the meantime, the father is doing his best to take care of his kids.

In this video, the breastfeeding mom's husband shares his story anonymously with translation help from his priest, Father Roberto Mena of St. Michael's Catholic Church. The couple has three kids. In the video you can see their 4-month old baby girl and their 3-year-old boy. Their eldest is 11 years old.

The father has to rely on the help of a neighbor to care for his two youngest children so that he can continue to go to work. The littlest ones are too young to really understand what is going on, but the 11-year-old boy asks about his mother every day when he gets home from school. The father is doing his best to keep his kids from being traumatized by spending time with them at the park and trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy.

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Is justice being served?

According to a statement from US Attorney Mike Hurst, the immigration raids are "simply about enforcing the rule of law in our state and throughout our great country."

Father Mena has a different perspective on the situation. "Another aspect that they are not mentioning is that laws have to be just," Mena points out. "And these kinds of laws, they are not just."

Regardless of the law, it seems unnecessarily cruel to separate parents from their children. And it's downright inhumane to keep a nursing mother from her baby.

Topics: baby  breastfeeding